Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Poetry Stretch - 13 Ways of Looking at Summer

Summer is officially over for me. Yes, you read that correctly. Faculty are back, first year students arrive on Wednesday, and classes begin next Monday. I am perfectly happy with this. You see, I was the kid who was ready for school to begin about one-week into summer. I love school! And while I do need a break from it every so often, I relish the end of summer. For some this is a sad time, but for me it marks the passage into fall, my favorite season of the year.

Yesterday I was savoring Wallace Steven's wonderful poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. I began to think that looking at summer in this way might be an interesting thing to do. Now, you don't need to come up with 13 ways of looking at summer. Perhaps we could write this as a modified renga, each contributing a verse or two. However you want to approach it, the challenge this week is to write a few stanzas (or more!) about summer.

Here are the stanzas I'm starting with (I think).

Leaning in
at this point farthest
from the sun
we still burn and sweat
while waiting patiently
to tilt away


Nights glow and sing
thick with fireflies
and crickets
Leave me a comment about your pieces and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. It's 90 here today, so it's like our summer in WNY is just finally beginning.

    "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" is a favorite of mine, so I love this idea...

  2. Do you hear that hum?
    Is it the bees' bumbled ums
    as summer leaves us?
    or is it the leaves'
    tumbling, is it the ums
    of autumn coming?

  3. The days cool down
    like a runner after a race,
    toweling themselves
    into autumn.

  4. I love the two totally different feelings of Julie and Jane's poems/stanzas! I especially love " it the ums/of autumn coming?"

    I'm a fall person, too. Back-to-school is the best. The fresh start, the clean slate, the anticipation. I loved it as a kid going back to school, as a teacher going back to school, and more than ever now as a freelance writer sending her kids back to school (not for 3 more weeks, though) and looking forward to a quiet house!

  5. I've given this a try, though I'm not really sure how these stanza's/chapters work....
    My poem is about a teacher's summer and is at

  6. A Summer Stanza Quintet

    beaches and ice cream
    drinks that are cool
    children who frolic
    or swim in the pool

    under construction
    displayed on the ramp
    attempting to get to
    the Bills training camp

    not many buses
    that take kids to school
    browsing the state fair
    and linger to stay cool

    sitting in lawn chairs
    beneath a shade tree
    notebook in hand
    to write poetry

    RVs go camping
    or to a baseball game
    summer is all this
    within nature's frame

  7. Another stanza to add:

    thirteen weeks
    from solstice
    to equinox
    ups and downs
    hots and colds
    wins, losses,
    and draws

  8. I didn't mean to when I began, but I ended up with 13 of my own here.

  9. Watermelon ribs
    corn teeth
    tomato blood --
    summer’s body
    our paper plates.

  10. sunk deep in shade
    the porch swing holds
    just his moment
    of summer

    on the lawn
    we are watching two trees
    with kid's legs
    swinging below heavy branches

    two friends listing to
    cicadas singing
    around the soft laughter
    and clink of ice

  11. In the first line of the last stanza I meant to say:

    "two friends listening to"

  12. Have I ever thanked you for so much inspiration?
    You've inspired me but I work slowly. I am waiting for a photo permission to add to my poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Cicada in August